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Premed/Prehealth Advice - High School

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

  • So, you have decided you are interested in pursuing a healthcare related degree as a high schooler. Consider yourself “prehealth”.

A prehealth high school student is considered an early student preparing for a healthcare related graduate school candidacy.

After high school, you must obtain a bachelor's degree (four years of university) in an area of science and health related concentrations. After this degree, you will apply to a specific school that offers the healthcare related graduate degree you are aiming for. There are a variety of healthcare related graduate degrees and some programs are four years long while others may be shorter: dental, optometry, physical therapy, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, among many others. For each graduate degree, there will be specific undergraduate requirements to apply for the respective school: volunteering, interning and/or research, board exams, strong GPA, letters of recommendations, specific undergraduate majors/concentrations etc…

  • Or, you have decided you are interested in pursuing a medical degree as a high schooler. Consider yourself “premed”.

A premed high school student is considered an early student preparing for medical school candidacy.

What is medical school and how do I get there?

After high school, you must obtain a bachelor's degree (4 years of university) in an area of science and/or health related concentrations. After this degree, you will apply to a medical school(s). Medical school is typically a four year doctoral program designed to make general physicians (doctors) who can specialize in vast areas of medicine. To get into medical school, you will need a high MCAT test score, strong GPA, letters of recommendation, research background, volunteer/leadership roles, clinical experience with patient interactions, personal statement among other possible edges on your application.

Whether you are considering a healthcare related career or becoming a physician, both have many things in common that will prepare you for those careers. Both require strong STEM knowledge and leadership experiences in things like volunteering, interning and/or research. Most importantly, both will require dedication and loads of passion.

Have all of this in mind, but do not overwhelm yourself…yet. You are in high school and there are a few things you can do to get a headstart on experience, knowledge and cultivate your anticipated passion for the medical field.

Getting a headstart in these extracurriculars outside of school related to STEM and healthcare fields will prepare you for what the requirements for medical school or other graduate programs will be. They also prepare you by solidifying and mastering the STEM knowledge that is needed to make your transition to higher education material, easier.

Below is a collection of opportunities for high school students in Arizona. Do not feel limited to what is included, there are many other opportunities you can search for or obtain through networking.

Opportunities for High School Students in Arizona

Organization: University of Arizona high school student opportunities Activities and Needs: “High school students who are interested in becoming a physician are invited to participate in our monthly lecture/activity series, Saturday Scrubs.”- U of A

Summer Scrubs is an enrichment program organized by the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. This program is designed to encourage and inspire Arizona high school students to explore their interest in the health care professions.” - U of A

Organization Address: 5777 E. Mayo Blvd. Web: Minimum age for volunteers: none mentioned on site

Organization: Mayo Clinic high school student volunteer opportunity Activities and Needs: “The purpose of the High School Student Summer Volunteer Program is to provide service to Mayo Clinic employees and ultimately to Mayo Clinic patients. While we do not offer opportunities for clinical exposure or shadowing of hospital staff, volunteers do learn about the healthcare environment through non-patient and patient interaction service assignments.”- Mayo Clinic

Organization Address: 5777 E. Mayo Blvd. Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 15

Organization: Arizona Science Center Activities and Needs: “We seek enthusiastic and outgoing volunteers to share the excitement of science learning through our hands on exhibits and activities. Opportunities are available during normal business hours, in the evening, and on weekends. We have hours for both the occasional event volunteer and the ongoing experience.”- Arizona Science Center Organization Address: 600 E Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85004 Phone: 602-716-2000 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: none mentioned on site

Organization: Translational Genomics Research Institute Activities and Needs: “TGen's Bioscience Leadership Academy is a two-week bioscience program serving 20 Arizona high school students every summer. The intensive education and leadership program focuses on elevating students' understanding of the biosciences and precision medicine.

TGen scientists and staff share their research expertise and expose students to technical skill basics, lab shadowing, clinical trials, bioethics, experimental design, clinical application of genomic medicine and the translational process, a diversity of careers, and topics in neurological disease, cancer, diabetes, and infectious disease.

The program also includes a leadership component focused on STEM professional skills such as science communication, public speaking, interdisciplinary and collaborative workplace skills, and networking.

Each graduate of the program will receive a $1,000 scholarship.”- TGen Bioscience Academy Organization Address: 445 N. Fifth Street Phoenix, AZ 85009 Phone: 602-343-8400 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 16, (be rising junior or senior at an Arizona high school during the program)

Organization: Alzheimer's Association-Desert Southwest Chapter Activities and Needs: Assist individuals and families affected by Alzheimer's disease and to advance research leading to a world without Alzheimer's. Need Helpline volunteers, community education volunteers (attend community events and health fairs), help with mailings, clerical and office, data entry, pre-event, special events and committee work. Organization Address: 1028 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix, AZ 85006 Phone: 602-528-0545 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 16

Organization: American Cancer Society Activities and Needs: National community based organization dedicated to preventing cancer, saving lives, research, education, advocacy and service. Organization Address: 4550 East Bell Road 126, Phoenix, AZ 85032 Phone: 602.224.0524 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 16 or 12 w/adult

Organization: American Red Cross-Grand Canyon Chapter Activities and Needs: Assist families who lost their homes to fires, help families communicate with relatives in the military, transporting the elderly, low-income or disabled as well as educational programs. Need volunteers for all areas, including call centers. Organization Address: 6135 N. Black Canyon Hwy, Phoenix, AZ 85015-6660 Phone: 602-347-6522 FAX: 602-336-5781 E-mail: Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 16 and up

Organization: Arizona Recreation Center for Handicapped Activities and Needs: Drop-in activities/classes for people with special needs Organization Address: 1550 W. Colter, Phoenix, AZ 85015 Phone: 602-230-2226 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 15 and up

Organization: Arrowhead Hospital Activities and Needs: Opportunities for working in virtually all areas of the hospital from delivering mail to patient care. Organization Address: 18701 N. 67th Ave., Glendale, AZ 85308-7101 Phone: 623-561-7232 E-mail: Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 14 or in high school *Arrowhead Hospital asks for a 6 month commitment

Organization: Arthritis Foundation Activities and Needs: Public education, disease management programs, exercise (water & land based) programs, health fairs, special event fundraisers (golf tournaments, galas, etc.) Need volunteers, also, for in-office assistance and special events and aquatic & arthritis management instructors. Organization Address: 1221 E. Osborn, Ste. 201, Phoenix 85014 Phone: 602-264-7679 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 16

Organization: Banner Thunderbird Medical Center Activities and Needs: Our volunteers provide comfort and caring, and assist our hospital staff in providing a positive experience for our patients. We have opportunities for teens and adults in both clinical and non-clinical settings, with a commitment of at least six months of service and a minimum of four hours a week. Organization Address: 5555 W. Thunderbird Rd., Glendale, AZ 85306 Phone: (602) 865-5760 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 14

Organization: Southwest Center for HIV/AIDS Activities and Needs: Provides the community with the knowledge, resources and collective strength necessary for individuals to live long and well with HIV. Organization Address: 1144 E. McDowell Rd., Ste. 200, Phoenix, AZ 85006 Phone: 602-307-5330 x2219 E-mail: Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 16

Organization: Epilepsy Foundation of Arizona Activities and Needs: Education, support, research & advocacy for people affected by seizure disorders. Volunteers for all categories including summer camp/puppet shows. Organization Address: 240 W. Thomas Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85013 Phone: 602-406-3581 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 16

Organization: Glendale Fire Department Activities and Needs: Assist community in various areas. Classes/training included. Cadets will not be involved in active firefighting. EMT certification preferred. Organization Address: 5800 W. Glenn Drive, Suite 350, Glendale, AZ 85301 Phone: (623) 930-2297 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 18

Organization: Hospice of the Valley Activities and Needs: Provide one-on-one companionship to hospice patients, assist with varying duties in inpatient unit setting; requires a commitment of at least twelve months of service and two hours per week. Program: Teens in Nursing (thru Gateway Community College) Organization Address: 1510 E. Flower Street, Phoenix, AZ 85014 Phone: 602-636-6336 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 14 or in a CNA program at high school

Organization: John C. Lincoln Hospital - Deer Valley Activities and Needs: Need volunteers for Public info. desk., gift shops, crisis companions, extended care center, children's community health services, adult day care center, thrift shop, clerical support, nursing units, patient hospitality and many more. Organization Address: 19829 N. 27th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85027 Phone: 623-879-5765 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 14

Organization: March of Dimes, Arizona Chapter Activities and Needs: March of Dimes researchers, volunteers, educators, outreach workers and advocates work together to give all babies a fighting chance against pre-maturity, birth defects and low birth weight. Volunteer needs range from serving on committees for major fundraisers to lending a helping hand with various office projects, such as mailings and database updates. We work with your schedule. Organization Address: 3550 N. Central Avenue, Suite 610 Phoenix, AZ 85012 Phone: 602-266-9933 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 14

Organization: Maricopa Integrated Health System Program: Junior Volunteer Deadline: May 1, 2013 Activities and Needs: Volunteers needed in guest relations, clinic, administration, and to distribute patient reading materials, assist in office & work with children/newborns, plus more. You can work in 12 Family Health Centers, from Mesa to Avondale. Organization Address: 2601 E. Roosevelt, Phoenix, AZ 85008 Phone: 602-344-5348 E-mail: Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 14

Organization: Maryvale Hospital Medical Center Activities and Needs: Volunteers are the Ambassadors of Giving and one of our greatest resources. They donate their time and skills in various areas throughout our community of care. Organization Address: 5102 W. Campbell, Phoenix, AZ 85031 Phone: 623-848-5227 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 14

Organization: Phoenix Children's Hospital Program: Summer Intensive Volunteer Program Dates: June 2 - July 27, 2013 Activities and Needs: To introduce students to the healthcare setting completing 100 hours of service in four (3-4 hour) shifts per week. Organization Address: 1919 E. Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ 85016 Phone: 602-546-0269 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 16 * Phoenix Children's Hospital asks for a commitment of 100 hours of service

Organization: Ronald McDonald House of Phoenix Activities and Needs: Ronald McDonald House provides housing for families who must travel to Phoenix for medical treatment for their children. House volunteers work 3-hour shifts helping to maintain the House and grounds. (Dinner program: Group activity (10 people or less) where you prepare & serve dinners for families. Community Service (10 people or less) deep clean rooms. Organization Address: 501 East Roanoke, Phoenix, AZ 85004 Phone: 602-633-2030 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 16

Organization: Special Olympics Arizona Activities and Needs: Various sports competitions countywide for people ages 8-80 who have mental retardation. Need volunteers for Special Events. We have 8 events during the year. Organization Address: 1850 N. Central Ave. Suite 900, Phoenix, AZ 85004 Phone: 602-230-0075 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 13

Organization: St. Joseph Medical Center Program: Junior Volunteer Program Activities and Needs: Explore careers in healthcare; provide services in same-day surgery, transport, IT, pediatrics and business office. Organization Address: 350 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix, AZ 85013 Phone: 602-406-3020 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 14 prior to May

Organization: Banner Volunteer Services (Boswell Hosp.) Activities and Needs: A wide variety of opportunities related to health and medicine. We have 250 volunteer assignments. We place volunteers in assignments of interest to them and meet their physical considerations. Organization Address: 10401 West Thunderbird Blvd., Sun City, AZ 85351 Phone: Boswell - (623) 876-5387 Web: Minimum age for volunteers: 14 *Applications accepted beginning in March for the summer opportunities.

Organization:United Blood Services

Activities and Needs: Donor center and mobile hosts/hostesses, hospital services, drivers, assist on blood drives, make phone calls to previous donors, assist on ASU campus blood drives, clerical, and mailings.

Organization Address: 6220 E. Oak St., Scottsdale, AZ 85257

Phone: 877-827-4376

Minimum age for volunteers: 12 with parental supervision

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